Closer Than Ever with words by Richard Maltby, Jr. and music by David Shire was first given at the nightclub Eighty-Eights and was called Next Time Now! A much expanded production retitled Closer Than Ever was co-directed by Maltby began its life at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts during the Summer of 1989. It came to New York the following Fall, opening in previews on 17 October 1989, and officially opening on 6 November 1989 at the off-Broadway Cherry Lane Theatre, where it ran for 312 performances. The cast included Brent Barrett, Sally Mayes, Richard Muenz, and Lynne Wintersteller.
Closer Than Ever features self-contained songs which deal with such diverse topics as security, aging, mid-life crisis, second marriages, working couples, and unrequited love. Maltby and Shire based many of the songs on real-life experiences of their friends, or stories told to them. The revue won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical and Maltby, Shire, and Wintersteller all garnered Drama Desk Award nominations for their respective contributions. The original New York cast recorded an album of the revue for RCA Victor (RCA Victor 60399).
On Monday, October 22 at The Edison Ballroom at the Abingdon Theatre Company Gala a production of Closer Than Ever launches again for one night only. T2c talked to Richard Maltby Jr. to learn more about the show and his relationship to the material.
Abingdon Theatre Company (Tony Speciale, Artistic Director; Denise Dickens, Producing Director) is launching their 26th season with a special one-night-only gala event on Monday, October 22 at The Edison Ballroom. The evening honors two-time Tony winner Donna Murphy (Hello, Dolly!; Passion; Wonderful Town).
The evening will be hosted by Randy Rainbow and feature an all-star concert performance of Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire’s award-winning musical revue Closer Than Ever with Nicholas Belton (Carousel), Lisa Brescia (Dear Evan Hansen), Tony Award nominee Liz Callaway (Baby), Lewis Cleale (Book of Mormon), Nikki Renee Daniels (Porgy and Bess), Erin Davie (Side Show), George Dvorsky (Closer Than Ever), Claybourne Elder (Passion), Aaron Kaburick (Hello Dolly!), Jeff Kready (Tootsie), Olivier Award winner Lesli Margherita (Matilda), Bonnie Milligan (Head Over Heels), Julia Murney (The Wild Party), Kyle Taylor Parker (Smokey Joe’s Cafe), two-time Tony Award nominee David Pittu(Lovemusik), Conor Ryan (Desperate Measures), Carrie St. Louis (Kinky Boots), Justin Sargent, Joey Taranto (Kinky Boots), two-time Tony Award nominee Mary Testa (Oklahoma!) and Alysha Umphress (Smokey Joe’s Cafe).
The event will begin at 6PM with a cocktail reception, dinner, honoree tribute and live auction, followed by an all-star concert performance of Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire’s award-winning musical revue Closer Than Ever.
Closer Than Ever will feature choreography by Deidre Goodwin, musical direction by Kevin David Thomas, and direction by Chad Austin. Individual Gala tickets, starting at $500, include access to the cocktail reception, dinner, honoree tribute and live auction at 6PM, followed by orchestra seating for Closer Than Ever at 8PM. A limited number of $125 performance-only tickets are also available, which include general admission with open bar for the 8PM performance. Doors open at 7:30PM for performance-only tickets. Both Individual Gala tickets and performance-only tickets are available at abingdontheatre.org or by calling 212-868-2055, ext. 2.